When I’m Not Writing, I’m Writing

by Randy Russell

author of Dead Rules

I write, I write, I write.  That’s it.  I can’t drive a car without working out a story or character or concept in my head.  I take my dogs everywhere I go and they both start barking when I am driving off the road.  

Whether or not I am actually writing, I am always writing.  I watch movies with a scalpel in hand.  I take them apart and put them back together again.  Same thing with novels I read.  I don’t believe in plot spoilers because the game at hand is seeing how the author controls, manipulates and exploits plot.  I will spend weeks with a novel I love, reading it over and over… and over again.

I love talking with other writers about story – their stories.  I don’t talk about mine until they’re done.  It wrecks the magic for me (kind of like talking about sex while you’re in the middle of it).  Even my agents know not to ask what I am working on, just whether or not I am working on something.     

I always carry a little notebook.  It’s full of funny stuff I can’t make sense of.  But it’s there. 

I talk to my dogs.  All the time.  I mean deep discussions about politics, whoever is on Charlie Rose, whether or not the screenwriters improved THE FIRM when they adapted the novel (I vote yes!), how much that moth looks like a hummingbird.  And I spend the rest of the day asking my rescue Border Collie to please stop eating bees.  She’s addicted, I’m afraid.   

I honestly spend a lot of time forgetting things on purpose. I can generally zen out parts of my brain, so I can tackle fresh writing projects without remembering the ins and outs of older ones.  It’s very important to me to erase drivel.   

It’s also a handy skill to erase disappointment, anger, bad reviews, rejections, etc. to move forward happily as a full-time writer and as a person.  I’m quite good at this.   

I also think life is incredibly funny, even the worst of it, so I spend any free time I have laughing.  I fall off chairs laughing.  I really do.  My wife says I laugh in my sleep.  I hope someday, a hundred years from now, when someone hears giggling in the graveyard, it’s me.